A collection of games to help understand the life and situations
that people experience within your community.
Empathy is a deep appreciation for another's
situation and point of view.
Empathy is Action
Empathy begins with awareness, understanding,
feeling, caring, perceiving a similarity of experience, and
compassion. But the difficult part of empathy is taking
action that truly helps another.
Empathy is present in most people, and certain activities
can increase empathy, or at least cooperation, between
people. One key to empathy is understanding first in
yourself, then in others.
Feeling Empathy for people we might
We all know people who are generally difficult to like.
How can you have empathy for such people? The
answer is that you don't have to like someone to want
the best for them. You may feel sad they are like this
and you can want them to: become more aware of how
they annoy others, take steps to improve themselves,
become more responsible, care more for others, and
take other steps to become more satisfied and peaceful.
Acting with empathy can be very difficult. Here is an
example of a situation where it may be difficult to know
what is the right thing to do:
Patrick receives a pay check each Friday. He quickly
spends it on tobacco, alcohol, and gambling. By Monday
he is getting hungry and asks you to lend him $50 for
food. What is the empathic response?
Follow these general steps for acting with empathy:
• Preserve dignity and avoid humiliation.
• Engage in a dialogue to understand his point of
view and to determine his specific needs.
Throughout the dialogue keep in mind:
• What he asks for may not be what he needs.
Continue the dialogue until you both understand his
• Every person always has needs for autonomy,
competency, and relatedness but is unlikely to
express these. This may lead to mixed feelings
• Help him to meet his needs to the extent you are
willing and able to.
Keep in mind:
• You are responsible for your choices and actions.
• He is responsible for his choices and actions.
• You can change some things but not others.
This game resource will help your Scouts to understand
the issues that might present themselves within a
You can choose the games that best suit the situation
you want to explore.
These games are fun to play but also have a serious
message. When the game is played it is important
that some form of group discussion takes place. This
discussion will help to identify what has been learned
by playing the game and the issues that needs to be
The content of all the games can be or may need to be
adapted to suit your own situation or need.
The collection of games has been compiled from many
different countries so adaptation of game content
and situations will be required to suit your culture or
The Exclusion Game
To enable participants to experience exclusion and domination in a safe environment
encouraging empathy and solidarity with others
Time- 30 minutes
Sheets of sticky dots in three different colours
What to do
Divide participants into three groups. Place a dot on the forehead of each participant:
Red for one group, Green for another and Blue for the third.
Tell participants that Greens are all in their 30’s and 40’s years of age and that they
have all the power. Give them chairs to sit on and sweets. Tell the Reds that they are all
over 65 years old and to stand together with their noses touching one wall and not to
look around or talk.
Tell Blues that they are all under 18 years of age and that they must do exactly what
the Greens say. You can give Greens some suggestions for instruction such as hop on
one leg, do press ups, make animal noises, pretend to be elephants.
Repeat with Blues being in their 30’s and 40’s years of age and having all the power,
Reds being under 18 years old and following Blues instructions and Greens being over
65 years old with the noses against a wall.
Repeat with Reds being in their 30’s and 40’s years of age and having all the power,
Greens being under 18 years old, following their instructions and Blues being over 65
years old with noses against the wall.
Bring the group back together in a circle. Ask all participants to remove the dots from
their head and to shake out their arms and legs taking deep breaths.
It is important to ensure participants shake out any anger built up in the game and
have the opportunity to discuss how the game made them feel.
How did each participant feel at each stage of the game?
Does this game reflect how people of different ages are treated in
your community? How are young people treated? How are old people
What other groups in your community experience exclusion?
Where do you think exclusion and oppression like this happens around
Participants will discover the various things they have in common with others,
regardless of background, race, or culture.
Time: 20–30 minutes.
Enough pipe cleaners so that each participant has four. Long pipe cleaners are best,
although the shorter variety may be used. Provide a variety of colors.
Place the pipe cleaners on a central table and ask each person to select four pipe
cleaners in the colors of their choice.
Tell participants that their task is to shape the pipe cleaners to represent something
that is very important in their life or something that is an important goal in their life.
Allow about five to seven minutes. The trainer should circulate around the room to
observe the creations that participants make.
Working with the person next to them, ask participants to try to guess what each
other’s creations represent.
As a total group, ask participants to stand if their creation represents the
concept that you name. For example, say, “If your creation represents
something to do with religion, please stand.”
Note the number of people who are standing. Once they are seated, call on
those to stand whose creation represents another concept. Concepts may
include religion, family, friends, money, education,health, or others that you
When most people have had a chance to identify with one of the groups
standing, ask those who have not yet stood to raise their hands. Ask one of
the people with a raised hand to share what his or her creation represents.
Then ask if anyone else made a creation that represents another member of
Props: Enough chairs for all participants, minus one.
Purpose: Team building, bending the personal space bubble,
Procedure: Get the group in a tight circle. Have the members of the
group reach in with their tight hands and grasp one of the right hands
available. Repeat with left hands. Then ask them to unravel the knot.
People may not let go. The circle of hands is to remain unbroken.
However, it may be necessary to change grips due to the angle of
arms and bodies. One variation is for the group to stay silent during
the entire activity. You can easily use this activity as a metaphor
for community activism that illustrates an opportunity for broad
perspectives to work together towards a common goal.
Group sits in a circle of chairs with
one person standing in the middle
(no empty chairs). The person in
the middle says “I seek common
ground with… people who were
born east of the Paris!” Anyone who
was, including the person asking the
question, must get up and run across
the circle to find a new seat. You
can’t take the seat of the person next
to you! There will be one person left
in the middle who must ask the next
question. Possibilities include: people
who… wear glasses! Likes vanilla ice
cream better than chocolate!
You can also guide
the questions a little
deeper… “I seek common
ground with people who
have… worked with the
The facilitator may
choose to ask the first
few questions to get the
game going and set the
Props: A ball of string
Purpose: Reflection, closing activity
Procedure: Participants form a circle, with the facilitator in the circle
holding a ball of string. Start by tossing the ball to a participant, holding
onto the end of the string as you throw it. State something you appreciate
about that person participating in your shared work. The appreciation can
be about something that recently happened or about the other person
in general. The ball then travels across the circle to each player with
everyone holding onto a piece of the string once the ball is tossed. Once
everyone is holding onto the string and it is crisscrosses throughout the
circle the facilitator, uses scissors to cut through the string, saying “As we
cut the ties to the games we’ve played (or activity we’ve finished), we
leave each person a piece of string in their hand to remind them of the
renewed community and new connections they have made.”
Touch The Can
Props: A tin can
Purpose: Teamwork, communication, planning and touching
Procedure: Get the group around the can. Tell the group they all must be
touching the can at once, with their… (finger, toe, knee, elbow, shoulder…